Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our Dear Friend, Mary Doyle

On February 23, 2013, HCA lost a devoted member of our board of directors, Mary Doyle.

A vibrant part of our organization, Mary brought energy, enthusiasm, wisdom, warmth and grace to HCA throughout the years. We will miss her terribly.

Here is Mary's obituary.

Friday, April 19, 2013

New Beginning at Housing Corporation of Arlington's Capitol Square Apartments

In June 2012, Brian Smith, a construction equipment broker, scouted out the Capitol Square Apartment site in Arlington to see if they could use his services. The contractor’s crew was there removing asbestos, and Brian gave them his card in hopes that they would contact him for their construction equipment needs. They did not, and Brian, a 7 time marathon runner who was happily settled near the water in South Boston, never imagined he’d be living at Capitol Square Apartments nine months later in an accessible unit, confined to a wheelchair. Housing Corporation of Arlington’s latest affordable housing development, Capitol Square Apartments, has two fully accessible units with an exterior ramp and an interior lift for those with mobility impairments.

Last August, Brian jumped off a 30 foot boat in Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, hitting the sandbar and
breaking his neck. Brian was sent by helicopter to the Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center. Both his legs and arms were affected by the accident, and he became quadriplegic. After a five‐week drug‐induced coma, Brian found himself at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for three months. As Brian worked hard on his recovery, he tried to figure out how he was going to live safely and independently. Brian’s South Boston apartment was not wheelchair accessible. With the help of his father, brother and a case worker at Spaulding, Brian “applied everywhere.” One place he applied was the Capitol Square Apartments and was luckily the 13th number picked out of 333 applicants in the lottery.

Until he was offered a unit at Capitol Square Apartments, Brian lived in the only other accessible unit he could find in Lynn. There, he feared for his safety after a brick was thrown through his bedroom window on his first day there. After all he had been through in the previous six months, Brian was horrified and thought, “You gotta be kidding me!”

At the end of February, one month later, Brian was offered an accessible unit in Arlington. The unit is bright and cheerful with automatic door openers, an accessible bathroom and doorways wide enough for Brian’s wheelchair.

Cathleen Lee is Brian’s personal care assistant. With her help, Brian is out everyday—doing errands, food shopping, going to his doctor appointments and physical & occupational therapy. Even with Cathleen’s help, Brian said “it takes me two and a half hours, from 8:30 to 11:00 AM, to get ready for the day.”

For someone who used to get up at 4:00 AM and be knocking on doors by 6:00 AM, the change in lifestyle has been monumental. Brian used to participate in 30 races each summer—5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons. Now, Brian can’t write, pick up objects or squeeze door handles.

Having worked since the age of 14, including putting himself through college, Brian is understandably finding the transition difficult. “I am losing my mind not working,” he said. He spends many of his days going to Journey Forward in Canton, an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of those who have suffered a Spinal Cord Injury through an intense exercise program, and going to Spaulding for his physical therapy appointments. Brian has traded his trusty pickup for a Dodge minivan that can hold his wheelchair and ramp.

Brian doesn’t have enough good things to say about Peabody Properties, who manage Capitol Square Apartments, “Peabody is first class—extremely accommodating and detail orientated. Barbara [from the Peabody staff] kept us updated and ensured a smooth transition.” At first, he couldn’t get out of the building because there was no electric automatic door opener. When Brian made the complaint, the opener was installed within the week.
When asked what he thought about the apartments themselves, Brian replied, “The buildings are excellent, the place is beautiful. They kept the look & feel of the original structure and added modern amenities. They used copper, updated the windows—even the ramp is incredible.”

Brian is pleased to be living in Arlington and ready to take advantage of the town when the weather gets warmer. He is excited about trying restaurants in the area: Jimmy’s Steer House, Not Your Average Joe’s, Blue Ribbon BBQ, and Sabatino’s. Brian loves going to the movies and is thrilled to be down the street from the Capitol Theatre. In the spring, he hopes to be able to wheel right down to church services at St. Agnes Parish, “Arlington is a dream with its wide sidewalks. I am forever grateful to the Housing Corporation of Arlington for providing me with a
terrific home in such an upstanding community.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Welcome, Aleisha!

HCA is thrilled to welcome our new project Assistant/Financial Manager, Aleisha Harris!

Aleisha comes to HCA after working with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP2) grant.  She worked with Project Managers to ensure payment requisition requests were complete and timely and confirmed that projects were compliant with Davis Bacon regulations. In addition, Aleisha was responsible for report management and systems administration. Aleisha enjoys crocheting and making jewelry in her free time.

Come by our offices and say, "Hello!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thank you, Winchester Savings Bank!

Winchester Savings Bank President & CEO, Peter Segerstrom, and Senior Vice President and Senior Loan Officer,  Carl Flumerfelt, presented HCA Executive Director, Pamela Hallett, with a $500 donation to support HCA's affordable housing and homelessness prevention work:

Carl joined HCA's Board of Directors last November & 
HCA is thrilled to be working with him! 

Capitol Square Apartments Ribbon Cutting

On the morning of December 12, HCA was pleased to celebrate the completion of its Capitol Square Apartments building, 258 Massachusetts Avenue, the first of three buildings on the property that will hold 32 affordable units upon completion this winter. 100 HCA supporters came out to celebrate and listen to speakers including Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Cedric Kam from U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development’s Undersecretary of Housing Aaron Gornstein, Peter Sargent from Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, Gregory Bowe from Cambridge Savings Bank, Tony Fracasso from MassDevelopment and Eastern Bank’s President, Robert Rivers.  Cambridge Savings Bank sponsored the morning’s festivities, and the event concluded with the guests touring the completed units. 

Mark Lesses, HCA’s Vice President and Vice President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, started the morning off by welcoming the crowd and discussing the significance of the units, “Capitol Square Apartments is HCA’s largest project yet and the first Arlington property to receive low-income housing tax credits from Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development.”
Units will be affordable in perpetuity serving low-income households at or below 60% of area median income. The buildings offer a mix of apartment sizes: 6 studio units, 17 one-bedroom units and 9 two-bedroom units with 32 units overall.
Bus service is available at the front door and many retail and other services are within walking distance.  “With a bus stop right out front,” stated Undersecretary Gornstein, “This is the true meaning of transit-oriented development!”
In an elegant benediction over the building, Pastor Christine Elliott of Calvary Church gave thanks, “…for the dream which made this day possible and the patience and tenacity which have brought it to life; for the tireless work and dedication, day in and day out, of HCA staff and Board members; for the partnership and teamwork of public and private sectors and for all who have advocated and contributed money, time and heart; for the support of this community and a town that cares for all persons; for the workers who have given their strength and skill to this project…”
For more photos, please check out our Facebook page!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Celebrate the Holidays with HCA's Ribbon Cutting!

Celebrate the holidays with an affordable housing gift to the Arlington community at our

 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for 

Capitol Square Apartments Project!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

8:30 AM

258 Mass Avenue

Arlington, MA 02474

Light refreshments will be served.

Kindly RSVP to Joanna at  
jain@housingcorparlington.org or 781-316-3606.

Capitol Square Apartments Project Funders
Town of Arlington
Brookline Bank
Cambridge Savings Bank
Eastern Bank
Massachusetts A­ffordable Housing Trust Fund
Massachusetts Department of Housing and  Community Development
Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
North Suburban Consortium HOME Program
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

An additional thank you to our
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Sponsor,
Cambridge Savings Bank!